Should I switch from Time Warner Cable in NYC/Brooklyn to Clear 4G?
September 26, 2010 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Should I switch from Time Warner Cable in NYC/Brooklyn to Clear 4G?

I'm at my wit's end with Time Warner Cable. I'm a web developer/student and I work from home, my internet has been down for over a week now. They won't send a tech out to my house for another week and they've been giving me the run around on the phone for days. I'm really sick of their terrible Kafka-esque customer service and the lack of internet at my home is really fucking with my pocketbook right now. I hear that Verizon DSL in my area isn't much better and am curious about Clear 4G. They get pretty mixed reviews but the pricing isn't too bad and I admit I'm intrigued about being able to work from anywhere with their portable modem. They're just now rolling out 4G service in NYC but even their reported 3G speed (1.5 mbps? That's twice as fast as TWC's service) is good enough for me. Any reason not to switch? Any alternatives besides this in Brooklyn besides Verizon DSL?
posted by johnnybeggs to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can probably get Speakeasy DSL, which is awesome.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:17 PM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is FIOS an option? I assume Optimum isn't if you're in TWC territory.
posted by griphus at 3:45 PM on September 26, 2010

Best answer: My experience with Clear has been either really good or really terrible. A lot depends on coverage, building density, weather, and maybe some magic. I've taken to almost hanging my modem out the window on occasion, just to boost the signal that much more. 5 bars is usable, 4 bars is almost as slow as dial-up, and anything less than that is unusable (on this Motorola black slab that I plug into a router).
posted by tmt at 3:58 PM on September 26, 2010

Response by poster: That's right, both FIOS and Optimum are not available here. I'm interested in Speakeasy, but I'd need a landline, yeah? I think I'll give them a call Monday morning. tmt, thanks, that at least let's me know that their 14 day trial might be worth it...
posted by johnnybeggs at 4:07 PM on September 26, 2010

You no longer need a landline for dsl. It's usually called "naked dsl."

posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:18 PM on September 26, 2010

(1.5 mbps? That's twice as fast as TWC's service)

Are you sure you're only getting 756k? I ask because cable is usually dramatically faster than 3G. I'm on the other side of the country, but the lowest service even offered by my cable company is 3Mbps, which is twice what 3g is. With my plan, I get around 24 Mbps.
posted by !Jim at 5:41 PM on September 26, 2010

Were you affected by the tornado last week? My TWC service was out for a few days, and I have several friends in both Queens and Brooklyn who lost all Internet connectivity and television for a solid week because of the storm. I don't know anything about Clear 4G, just thought I'd point out that lots of people locally suffered at the hands of TWC this past week. I'm surprised to hear your service is still out though...
posted by lgandme0717 at 5:45 PM on September 26, 2010

I also live in Brooklyn, in an area where the wiring very old and terrible for DSL, so we all have Time Warner. Friends of mine who, like you, work from home and are dependent on their cable actually working have gotten the Time Warner business internet product and are happy as clams. Their service is more reliable, it's different customer service and different technicians. I would look into it.
posted by micawber at 7:10 PM on September 26, 2010

I can't speak to clear 4g in particular but my experience with wireless web access solutions like 3g surfsticks has been that they quite often are sufficiently fast in delivering data but suffer another problem: lag time. what I mean is that the server sometimes takes ages to send that initial response after you type in that url, which means you sit around for five or ten seconds staring at nothing. that doesn't happen all the time but it's maddening when it does. my amateurish understanding is that this is when the cell towers are configured to never ever drop a package but someone else could fill you in better than I can. my point is: test it before you commit.

my current solution is that I have a usb 3g surfstick as a backup to my dsl line, so if one goes down I still have a second (and with iphone tethering a third) option to at least check mail and surf the green. I highly recommend a redundant solution if you're using this for work. also consider chatting up your neighbors. suggest a "you can use my wifi if I can use yours" backup solution to them and explain why. of course this only works with people who use a different provider.

finally, listen to micawber. business accounts always get treated differently because they hope to be able to sell you larger packages as you expand into the next fortune 500 megacorp, which is why they are friendlier and more attentive.
posted by krautland at 6:24 AM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the suggestions! A few replies though:

Are you sure you're only getting 756k?
Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but yeah, at least in my neighborhood, downloads from TWC are slow, slow, slow.

Were you affected by the tornado last week
No, I wasn't, but I did consider this a possibility. However my service went out a few days after the storm. It may have something to do with why getting a tech out here is taking so long, and I'd be sympathetic but I'm, frankly, PISSED about how I've been treated this week. I scheduled an appointment to have a tech come over (five days after my service went out was the earliest they could swing this), then after waiting in my apartment, I miss a phone call from them. Apparently, if you miss this phonecall, they cancel the appointment (something they only told me after I missed the call) and have to re-schedule (another 5 day wait). This is unacceptable. Even if they HAD told me that missed call = no appointment, that's just fucked up. I go to the bathroom and miss a call and my appointment is off? No man, I have to make special arrangements to be here for this appointment and I have shitty cell service here: an appointment is an appointment. I'm losing money every day because of this and we're going on two weeks now... I'm going with Clear 4G or Speakeasy...

Time Warner business
This sounds awesome except, based on this experience, different service or not, TWC is not getting any more of my money.
posted by johnnybeggs at 6:31 AM on September 27, 2010

The company I work for uses Towerstream for our Brooklyn connectivity. It's wireless, but it isn't Time Warner and it seems to work pretty well for the money.
posted by tmt at 6:16 AM on September 28, 2010

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